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Speeding up Massey Tunnel replacement crucial for economy: Delta city councillor

Last Updated Nov 1, 2019 at 5:09 pm PST

FILE - Massey Tunnel traffic backed up on May 6, 2015. (NEWS 1130 file photo)

Transit advocates say any plan for replacing the Massey Tunnel should be assessed in light of climate concerns

A Delta councillor says a seismically safe, efficient alternative is urgently needed for the crucial economic gateway

DELTA (NEWS 1130) — Transit advocates are citing climate concerns and calling for plans for the George Massey crossing to be studied further, but a Delta politician says enough is enough.

Abundant Transit Vancouver penned an open letter asking for the plan for replacing the crossing to be sent to the Regional District’s Climate Action Committee for further scrutiny.

Coun. Dylan Kruger is a member of that committee and says further study is not necessary and a new crossing is urgently needed.

“They are arguing that there should be no replacement for the George Massey Tunnel because we should not be building for car infrastructure, we should only be building for transit,” he says. “I’m fully in support of building infrastructure to get people out of their cars but there’s a fundamental concept people have to understand when it comes to the Massey tunnel: the Massey Tunnel is the economic gateway into Canada.”

Kruger says commuters aren’t the only ones who rely on the tunnel.

“At the end of the day, container trucks can’t take transit,” he explains. “We still need to build so we can get goods from point A to point B, in this region and in this country. So the notion that we should be building only for transit infrastructure here, I think really does not take into account the economic ramifications.”

Kruger says workers and drivers who rely on the crossing need something seismically-safe and efficient built as soon as possible.

“Not everyone is going to get out of their cars and go on to transit. There are workers who use this tunnel – whether they are mechanics or plumbers or electricians or truck drivers. They need lanes to get to and from where they’re going”

He says getting people out of cars would happen with a new crossing because it would HOV lanes and dedicated pedestrian and bike lanes.

Metro Vancouver voted Friday to endorse an eight-lane immersed-tube tunnel to replace the aging crossing, following the recommendation by a task force last month.